Friday, August 12, 2005

Domínguez's Historia Dominicana

Last year, in the magazine store at Gómez Peña International Airport in Santo Domingo, I spotted Jaime de Jesús Domínguez's Historia Dominicana (ABC Editorial, 2001) on the shelf and bought a copy. I was already quite familiar with the history of the Dominican Republic from Rout's standard volume on Africans in Spanish America, Sagás and Inoa's The Dominican People: A Documentary History, and Cambeira, and Cambeira's Quisqueya La Bella: The Dominican Republic in Historical and Cultural Perspectives, as well as numerous works on Hispaniola in general and on Haitian history. But I grabbed Domínguez's book, in part based on the cover, which depicts a realist battle scene (I believe it might be of Restoration Day, which occurs early next week and marks the restoration of sovereignty, from Spanish annexation and rule, in 1865) painted by Marino Gúzman (and which is in the Colleción Jacinto Peynado). Domínguez's book turned out to be a very thorough and engaging popular history of the the DR, which doesn't stint either on visual representations (like the Gúzman painting) or discussions of the Black contributions to the nation's history. In short, I found what is a very readable, vivid popular history, written I would imagine for Dominicans and others whose primary language is Spanish, that is also in a way a little subversive, especially in light of some of the longstanding historical and cultural discourse about Dominican history propagated by the ruling class(es) there. I'm thinking of the general lines of thought about the African contribution and presence, and the relationship between Spain and DR, and Haiti and DR, that are to be found in the works of former dictator and president Joaquín Balaguer, or to give a more recent example, in the tourist guide I found in my hotel room last year. (This discourse mirrors in many ways the standard discourse about Latin American history and cultures). I've been trying to find out more about Domínguez; does anyone know any of other works he's published? Is he a scholar, like Sagás and Cambeira? What about the painter Marino Gúzman?

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